We have seen Scarlett Johansson play some of the most deadly, delicious femme-fatales in contemporary cinema, and that trend is only getting started. However, it seems that one project she has now lined up could add the word, "psychopathic" to her resume. The actress has jumped on to star in new film titled The Psychopath Test. The book-to-film adaptation could be a dark look into the world of psychiatric care, but, based on the creative forces behind the film, it is possible that it won’t carry too serious of a vibe.
According to a report from Deadline, Johansson will take top billing for The Psychopath Test, which they describe as "a psychological thriller." The film has just nabbed Kristen Gore for the screenwriting gig. The vice-presidential offspring has made quite a career as a comedic-leaning scribe on Futurama, Saturday Night Live and has collaborated with filmmaking names like David O. Russell and Spike Jonze. Gore’s background could indicate a less serious tone than a film brandishing the word, "psychopath" might seem to carry.
The original Jon Ronson book was a rather eccentric, idiosyncratic take on non-fiction that detailed how the author came to become involved with a psychologist who was convinced that the world was secretly filled with high-functioning and potentially deadly psychopaths. Ronson would soon find himself fully immersed in his study, leading him on an empirical odyssey for answers. This involved examining the behavior of a CEO who took legitimate joy in shutting down factories and leaving his employees jobless, as well as an institutionalized mortgage fraudster who used to lead a death squad. The book delved into the idea of drawing lines between sanity, insanity and eccentricity, and the question of whether someone can be fully defined by their more bizarre personality aspects.
At this point, it’s unclear what kind of role Johansson will play. However, given her previous roles, it seems like this would be a brilliant opportunity for her to unleash some onscreen instability like we've never seen from her before. Much the way The Men Who Stare at Goats mixed eccentric, quasi-historical concepts into a cauldron of drama and absurdity, The Psychopath Test has the potential to be a a funhouse mirror focus on the mental health industry and a culture of hubris among a certain set of characters who believe they possess the definitive method of diagnosing true-blue psychopaths. It almost sounds like a Minority Report-type idea exploring the value of free will and the moral implications of attempting to preemptively judge individuals for things that have yet to occur - though obviously the "precogs" are a tad bit different and perhaps not as trustworthy.
In addition to having Kristen Gore writing the adaptation of The Psychopath Test, and the fact that Jon Ronson was also the man behind the story in the dark comedy The Men Who Stare at Goats, another element of this production suggesting a lighter touch to the material is the fact that it will be helmed by a long-established comedic director Jay Roach. With credits for the Austin Powers series, the Meet the Parents/Fockers films and the Will Ferrell vehicle, The Campaign, it seems that this film won’t spend too much time getting dark and dangerous. Then again, Roach has some political dramas on his resume in the HBO Films Game Change and Recount, so perhaps this movie will be his attempt to bring that tone to the big screen.
The Psychopath Test could be looking to cure Black Widow of her signature, sexy, killer proclivities when it hits theaters on a date to be determined.